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What to do during an emergency response

It’s essential that everyone knows what to do in emergencies such as bushfires, storms, flash floods and lightning.

Stay informed through the media

Use a battery operated radio from your emergency kit to listen to the local ABC station for instructions from emergency services and the SES. You can also keep across updates on social media (for example, Facebook and Twitter), and there are also numerous emergency services apps (for example, Australian Fires Bushfire Map).

During a storm or flash floods

Seek refuge as high as you can and call emergency services for help. Stay away from windows inside your home.

If you’re driving, turn on hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road. Keep clear of causeways, streams, creeks, drains, trees and power lines. Never drive or walk through floodwater.

In a tropical cyclone

Listen for instructions on the radio. If the property starts to break up, protect yourself with a rug, blanket, mattress or shelter under a bench or table. Don’t assume the danger has passed in the eye of the cyclone – make sure you wait for the all clear.

If trapped in a car, put on the hand brake and park away from trees and power lines.

When caught in a bushfire

Whether you stay or go can depend on how close the bushfire is to you and what preparations you’ve made previously. Make sure you follow instructions from emergency services. If you stay, take shelter far away from the fire. Move to an area such as a driveway, lawn or to already burnt ground. Do not return inside for any reason.

If you’re inside the property, soak towels and place under external doors to prevent smoke entering. Close all doors and take refuge in a room that has a door or exit leading outside and wait until it’s clear to leave.

Leaving immediately after a fire has passed is dangerous, as there may be risks such as fallen trees and power lines. Listen to the radio or check with the local police for when it’s safe to leave.

Severe hail or thunderstorm

Find the best shelter such as a stairwell or walls with reinforced pipes on the lowest floor of the building. Stay clear of windows and glass doors. Listen to the local radio for alerts of high winds or a tornado.


If you’re outside, seek cover away from the wind and protect your head. Keep your face away from windows if inside a vehicle.

What if you need to evacuate?

If it’s likely you may need to evacuate, follow these important steps:

  • Listen to your local radio and check social media and emergency services apps for updates
  • Check for immediate danger, if there is call emergency services
  • Get your emergency kit, important sentimental items and documents ready
  • Locate your closest exit with a clear passage outside
  • Wear protective clothing and a mask
  • Organise pets and animals
  • Disconnect appliances and unplug equipment
  • Never travel through floodwater, stay clear of creeks, streams, drains, causeways, gutters, fallen trees, power lines and damaged buildings.

Check insurance

Make sure your home and contents insurance is up-to-date and the sum insured amount is enough to rebuild or replace your contents. It’s a good idea to have your insurer’s details in your emergency kit, so if you need to you can contact them in a hurry.

Things you should know

*Quote and buy online and save 15% off your annual premium for the first year with promotional code COVER. Plus, save 10% when you combine home and contents at the same address under the one policy.


Westpac Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement (PDF 85KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statements (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2019) (PDF 339KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (applicable to policies initially issued in the period between 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2019; or renewed in the period between 30 July 2018 and 30 June 2019) (PDF 328KB)

View the Home and Contents Insurance Key Fact Sheets.

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable). Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.